Letters to the editor
Save gun rights
President Obama’s big plan to curb gun violence is more of a wish list of things he would like to see than an actual plan to stop the violence. He pawned it off on members of Congress, stating that it is up to them to do something about it. Obama should be ashamed of himself for exploiting children to promote his agenda. He and his ilk want to disarm law-abiding citizens while ignoring the fact that only criminals will have weapons.
I may not be an educator, but I am educated. As a Marine Vietnam vet and cop in Connecticut, I was considered a weapons expert, but I didn’t learn what I knew there. My father, who was also a cop, pounded gun safety into my head at young age and taught me to respect weapons.
If you tell kids that guns are dangerous, you are asking them to see for themselves. If you show them the do’s and don’ts, it takes the mystery away.
If children are taught safety and respect for weapons, then gun violence could be nipped in the bud long before it happens.
Gregory J. Topliff
Glenwood Drive Warrenville
I am very distressed about a Jan. 9 letter against the proposed Johns Island Parkway.
I, too, worked at MUSC and have been a resident of Johns Island for over 15 years, enjoying the rural beauty and the “tunnel of trees” on both Bohicket and River Roads.
Living directly on Bohicket Road, I’ve observed that rush hour traffic goes toward the barrier islands in the morning and away in the afternoon — people who work at Kiawah/Seabrook but live in West Ashley, North Charleston, James Island, even Mount Pleasant. These are the people who will benefit most from a restricted parkway (leaving the slower, scenic roads to us locals).
The argument that a parkway will only encourage more growth is specious; we already have For Sale signs all over the island for vast acreages that when developed will only add to our crowded roads.
I would love to see this island remain rural with vegetable and horse farms, but change is already here and we must deal with the need for improved infrastructure and the inevitable development without destroying our “scenic highways.” And the “non-rich” folks, whose employment is vital to the barrier islands, need a safer and more timely way to get to work.
Oak Branch Drive
I found it interesting, but not surprising, that former Gov. Mark Sanford hopes voters will overlook his infidelity as he runs for the congressional seat vacated by Sen. Tim Scott. However, that is not an issue for the voters. That’s between him and his ex-wife. At issue with the voters is trust at a different level. He swore to perform the duties as governor of this state but deserted his post and did not allow for a second-in-command to be in position to make decisions in event of an emergency.
If Lt. Sanford instead of Gov. Sanford had deserted his post he would have paid a significant penalty. But he does not seem to get it.
Rivers Point Row
It’s time to limit the deductibility of interest on home mortgages. The original purpose of these deductions was to promote home ownership, not promote luxury.
Here’s my suggestion: Allow 100 percent of the interest to be deducted on primary dwellings for the first $200,000 of mortgage principle, and a 50 percent interest deduction on the second $200,000 of mortgage principle.
These would be very easy for the lender to calculate. Even under my arrangement a person with a $500,000 house and a $400,000 mortgage would still retain 75 percent of the present day deduction, and a person with a $250,000 house and a $200,000 mortgage would see no change.
If someone wants to live in “Downton Abbey,” well, he should pay for it. Uncle Sam can’t afford to help any longer.
William A. Johnson
Your Jan. 11 editorial on teacher evaluation was a good one. The idea that excellent teaching produces excellent students is accurate.
Is it done in public schools as a norm? No.
Schools are funded in large part by real estate taxes in their districts, legalizing segregation between counties and school districts throughout the state. This also pushes teachers with poor academic performance to low-paying districts just to get a job. Strike two against excellent teaching.
Districts with low tax bases are lucky to fill their need for teachers, who after one year will try transferring to greener, better-paying pastures.
Let’s compare regular public schools with the magnet schools, darlings of S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais. Their teachers are hand-picked from several districts according to experience and performance, the result being better-educated students. What a wonderful surprise, but already known to our Northern states and Northern European countries. They have nothing but excellent teachers. To reward them salaries corresponding to their stature and performance, they are paid by the state not to rely on district tax bases.
Because it would be impossible to provide all magnet students with public transportation from wherever they live, there is another legalized segregation. Generally, only one parent works while the other serves as a chauffeur every school day. That requires two cars, as we have no mass transit. And that eliminates students from financially limited homes.
In progressive states and countries, a logical measure is taken to ensure only excellent teachers: Teacher education institutions admit only the creme de la creme, based on scholastic performance.
In addition, applicants are interviewed as to their desire to teach children, so that typically, only 10 to 15 percent of applicants are admitted.
To remunerate excellent teachers corresponding with their talents, in a non-wealthy country with about the same population as South Carolina, the mean income is about $40,000 per year, with lower and higher ends depending on time served. And, of course, paid by the state. A bachelor’s degree is required, followed by compulsory master’s degree focused on teaching.
Compare this with charter schools in South Carolina. In a logical system as I described, there are no magnet schools, charter schools or vouchers to private schools. They are not needed. We have a long way to go. Are we up to it?
Lake Moultrie Drive
Sheriff Al Cannon recently held a news conference to announce he would ignore new gun laws that he decided were unconstitutional.
The National Sheriff’s Association’s website makes it very clear that sheriffs have no higher powers or special dispensations than any other elected officials. It further states that sheriffs take an oath of office to enforce the U.S. Constitution as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As he was sworn in for his seventh term earlier this month, Cannon joked he had the oath memorized. He may want to check it again — unless there are parts he has determined he will ignore.
As a private citizen, Al Cannon can speak or act to rescind laws he disagrees with. As an elected sheriff, he cannot ignore laws nor encourage anyone else to do the same.
If he cannot carry out the duties he was elected to perform, he should step down.
Raise gas tax
Gov. Nicki Haley’s intransigence on increasing the gasoline tax is baffling. This would appear to be one of the few taxes that targets only the beneficiary, and is the most logical way to provide funds for bridge and highway maintenance and repair.
She appears to support bringing South Carolina into the 21st century in other respects, so why not do the same with the gasoline tax?